It's all fun and games until somebody brings up Trump. Kanye West's once giddily fun return to Twitter took a polarizing turn earlier this week, when the Chicago rap mogul abruptly traded a spree of shiny motivational quotes and surprise album announcements for what appeared to be extended endorsements of several right-wing figures and ideas.
“I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” began ‘Ye’s political spiral on April 21, referring to the popular “Red Black Pill” YouTuber who once called Black Lives Matter protesters “whiny toddlers.” And if you assumed Kanye’s offhand comment was a fluke, think again: West was back at it on April 23, tweeting not one but nine videos from Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist-turned-Trump-supporter who has argued that rape is a “natural instinct” for men. More recently (and it’s getting hard to keep up), West professed “love” for his “brother” Donald Trump (“we are both dragon energy”) and tweeted two photos of the president’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hat. Trump retweeted both in apparent appreciation.
We’ve known West is at least not against the president for some time -- remember when the two posed for a photo at Trump Tower? -- but his latest round of comments have attracted greater scrutiny from both the media and his peers. He certainly wasn't the only superstar to wade into political waters this week: Country queen Shania Twain faced backlash for telling The Guardian she would have voted for Trump (she’s Canadian), which is roughly what Kanye told fans at a concert in 2016 (though he didn't vote at all). Yet the different reactions to their similar comments reveal a lot about why we take certain celebrities' views seriously and not others' (at least not right away). While Twain was swiftly “canceled” by her left-leaning followers, it has taken a few days for Kanye’s fans and famous peers to come to terms with his tweets, the consequences of which are still unfolding.